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11.11.20 05:06
Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation
06.11.20 16:59
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Spanish EFE news agency
04.11.20 14:53
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Italian La Repubblica newspaper
01.11.20 02:40
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by German ARD TV channel
30.10.20 21:00
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Russian Interfax agency
27.10.20 22:45
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Italian Rai 1 TV channel
27.10.20 22:32
Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation
26.10.20 03:17
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by U.S. Fox News TV channel
24.10.20 22:22
President Ilham Aliyev gave interview to French Le Figaro newspaper
20.10.20 22:48
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation
15.10.20 23:17
Azerbaijan Republic State Security Service cautioned about Armenian terror
11.10.20 15:12
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Russian RBC TV channel
10.10.20 09:33
Azerbaijani, Russian, Armenian FMs make joint statement
10.10.20 00:54
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation
07.10.20 01:37
President Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by TRT Haber TV channel
05.10.20 21:16
Mehriban Aliyeva: «Each of us is obliged to do our best to bring the moment of the Great Victory closer»
04.10.20 23:02
President Ilham Aliyev addressed the nation
03.10.20 22:52
President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev: «Azerbaijani Army raised Azerbaijani flag in Madagiz»
03.10.20 13:25
President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev was interviewed by Al Jazeera TV channel
02.10.20 21:22
Hikmet Hajiyev: «Armenian leadership tries to intimidate people with photoshops»
02.10.20 17:44
Two years after Khashoggi’s murder, a Saudi opposition forms
02.10.20 11:01
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump test positive for Covid-19
02.10.20 09:40
Operational information of the Ministry of Defense
02.10.20 09:09
Turkey: Permanent peace possible if Armenia leaves Azerbaijan territories
02.10.20 08:43
Are PKK-linked terrorists fighting alongside Armenia in occupied-Karabakh?
02.10.20 00:17
Armenian president officially admits violation of international law - Turkish government
30.09.20 23:32
Presidential debate: How the world's media reacted
30.09.20 23:18
The Ministry of Defense addressed volunteers who want to join the fighting
29.09.20 02:50
Turkish parties condemn Armenian attack on Azerbaijan
28.09.20 13:12
Abdullah Abdullah begins Pakistan visit
28.09.20 10:53
The Armenian side is trying to conceal its losses by spreading misinformation
28.09.20 10:48
President Ilham Aliyev appealed to Azerbaijani people
27.07.20 16:04
Lapid calls on Netanyahu to fire Public Security Minister Amir Ohana
27.07.20 15:16
Kazakhstan to Establish National Emergency Stabilization Fund for Essential Medicines
27.07.20 14:58
China takes over US Consulate in Chengdu in diplomatic tit for tat
Two years after Khashoggi’s murder, a Saudi opposition forms
2 October [17:44] Intelligence agency Crime



What the Saudis feared most in Jamal Khashoggi is now becoming a movement.

It has been two years to the day since Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi seemingly vanished without a trace after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. 
In an act that would make Houdini green with envy, the Saudi authorities claimed a week after his disappearance that, far from anything sinister being afoot, Khashoggi had simply departed the building through a back entrance and had gone on with the rest of his day. 

According to the Saudis, there was nothing to be concerned about and he would eventually turn up.

Except we now all know what really happened – he was brutally murdered by a 15-man hit squad sent by senior Saudi officials, either on the orders of or on behalf of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS).

Khashoggi’s killers will not face justice

It was a kind of sick pantomime, with the Saudi authorities repeatedly changing their story. From claiming he was alive and well, to pretending he had been accidentally killed as he was held in a stranglehold during a fistfight in the consulate after Turkey kept revealing more evidence of malevolence on the part of the Saudi state, to the Saudi attorney-general finally confirming that his killing was premeditated. 

The extent Riyadh was willing to go to insult the world’s intelligence over the fact that it had just murdered one of its own citizens and a writer who had simply disagreed with MBS’ vision for a new Saudi Arabia was and still is outrageous. They engaged in an elaborate if amateurish, cover-up.

Despite having a close ally like Donald Trump in the White House, even the CIA made it absolutely clear that they believed that MBS was complicit in the murder of the writer. Senator Lindsey Graham described the crown prince as a “wrecking ball” and that people would have to be “willfully blind” to ignore the fact that he was behind the brutal murder.

And brutal it was. To date, Khashoggi’s remains have not been found. According to the latest evidence, Turkish judicial indictments, and evidence from international bodies such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Khashoggi was subdued, suffocated, and then professionally dismembered by a forensics specialist. His remains were then either disposed of somewhere in Turkey or dissolved in a chemical bath, with Saudi operatives tampering with evidence and scrubbing the scene of the crime.

In June 2019, the UN’s special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, concluded in an investigation that “credible evidence” showed senior officials in the Saudi royal court were responsible and called for an investigation into the individual liability for the slaying of high-ranking royals, including MBS himself.

Once more determined to laugh in the face of all those trying to hold Riyadh to account, a ridiculous sham trial was set up to show that the authorities were serious in holding Khashoggi’s killers to account. Eleven men stood trial last December in Saudi Arabia, with the crown prosecutor dismissing charges against three of the men, issuing jail terms to three others, and ordering the death penalty for five others.

Back then, Callamard condemned the ruling as a “mockery” of justice and highlighted the fact that senior officials such as close MBS aide Saud al Qahtani and former deputy head of Saudi intelligence Ahmad al Asiri were completely let off the hook while foot soldiers were left to take the fall.

To rub salt in the wound, early last month the death sentences were commuted by the Saudi judiciary to 20 years in prison, rightfully leading Khashoggi’s fiancee Hatice Cengiz to slam the decision as a “farce” and asking, “Who planned it? Who ordered it? Where is the body? These are the most important questions that remain totally unanswered.”

No one of good conscience can fault Ms Cengiz’s assessment. The Saudi royal court has closed ranks around its rogue crown prince and will protect him at all costs, justice be damned.

Opposition to MBS forms

Evidently, Khashoggi’s true killers, those who orchestrated the attack and not the human drones sent to do their bidding, will not face justice while MBS is in power and while the international community, and particularly the United States, continues to legitimise him. 

In recent revelations, Trump was even reported to have bragged to a journalist that he protected MBS from the global backlash.

However, and in an ironic twist of fate, a kind of cosmic justice may be inflicted upon Riyadh in the near future as a Saudi opposition begins to take shape.

On the Saudi National Day on 23 September, a London-based Saudi Arabian dissident group formally announced it had created an opposition party called the National Assembly Party that opposes not only MBS but the absolute monarchy that has governed Saudi since 1932. Their stated aim is to introduce democracy into the oil-rich country by means of a referendum to ascertain the people’s choice in how they want to be ruled.

This must be galling for the Saudi royal court. Part of the motivation in the killing of Khashoggi was to stifle and kill off any dissent against their rule. Even soft-spoken critics like Khashoggi were not tolerated and Riyadh’s domestic human rights record against dissidents is amongst the most abysmal globally, with people routinely jailed and tortured for expressing views deemed unpalatable to the ruling royals.

However, by acting in an extraordinarily brutal manner and killing a man who did nothing more than speak and write, MBS and his coterie actually helped provide the momentum to create the kind of political opposition they always dreaded and had been avoiding since the Arab Spring.

Although it is early days yet and it is unknown how exactly the new opposition group will go about achieving its aims, the mere fact that it exists and in such a public manner demonstrates that people are willing to challenge MBS’ grip on power, even members of his own family, such as exiled Prince Khalid bin Farhan Al Saud who is also calling for democratic transition and regime change.

MBS has singlehandedly managed to unite both the common Saudi people and members of the royal family in a singular cause to topple him. Even if the two opposition factions from the two disparate strata of Saudi society do not work together, MBS is now facing a two-front war against his reign. Whether he lasts or not is now the question, and he may find himself paying for what he did to Khashoggi one day.

 

 

Source: trtworld.com